Farewell to Steve Scott

Steve Scott’s sudden death in late December, 2011, hit me hard. Never again will I pick up the phone or jet off an email to ask my mentor and friend to verify a fact, enjoy a chat about anything from milk houses to God, or pay him another visit at the serene Young Center for Anabaptist & Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. I can’t imagine what his family, colleagues, and close friends are going through, and send them my deepest sympathy.

Steve Scott, standing on the right

Steve Scott, standing on the right

Was it a coincidence Steve Scott’s book Amish Houses and Farms had been one of my favorites for a year before I ever thought to contact him? His little book intrigued me and it still remains next to my bed.

A wealth of knowledge, Steve Scott would dismiss the accolades. He was gentle, humble, generous with his time, highly intelligent, and a man with a lovely sense of humor. While family, colleagues, and friends recall his thoughtfulness and sincerity, the whole world is indebted to his scholarly contributions.

He authored many books and articles on a variety of Anabaptist topics. I believe most of Steve Scott’s books can still be purchased or found at libraries. Plain Buggies (1981), Why Do They Dress That Way? (1986), The Amish Wedding and Other Special Occasions of the Old Order Communities (1988), Living Without Electricity (1990), Amish Houses and Barns (1992), and An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite Groups (1996), as well as articles in periodicals and entries in reference books. Steve also contributed to recent books by Donald B. Kraybill, Ph.D., including Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites (2010).

If you read Amish fiction or non-fiction, the authors you enjoy have probably benefited from Steve Scott’s research and insights. I certainly did and will continue to do so.